Six ways to satisfy children's holiday hunger without going broke
The July/August vacation is well underway and by now, some parents are struggling to keep their kitchen cupboards stocked while the children are at home.
Being at home somehow increases children’s appetites which puts a strain on many households.
We asked parents to share with us the strategies they use to stretch their dollars while ensuring their children's appetites are satisfied over the next two months. Here are six tips that you may find useful.
1: Budget, budget, budget:
According to one mother, budgeting is a must and helps you to manage your spending. Once you know how much you plan to spend, make a meal plan to ensure you stick to the budget. UK website, Good To Know says a meal plan is crucial. “If you have planned the meals you will be making well in advance, it will be a lot harder to overspend; you will avoid extra trips to the supermarket and you’ll be far less likely to impulse buy!” the site advises.
Lavaughn said: “Meal prep is your friend...make as much as you can ahead of time so it's just to reheat and serve. The key is really to plan ahead. I haven't budgeted/spent any extra actually, and the money I would usually spend on juice boxes and snacks for school, I use it to buy real food instead.”
2: Cook at home
It is difficult as working parents to find the time to prepare homemade meals but carving out some time either on the weekend or at nights to cook would not only save you money but could also ensure you manage what your children put into their bodies. One mother, Doni, told us she makes homemade ice cream, popsicles, baked goodies and her version of fast food.
“Make homemade snacks... cake, drops, pastry, suck a bag, popcorn. Let your child/children choose two to three snacks in the morning and tell them that those snacks have to last for the day. Also make juice instead of buying pack juice,” advised Ginger.
3: Buy in bulk
If you have more than one child, buying snack items such as nuts, cookies and popsicles in bulk might be a good way to ensure your stocks don’t run out. You may need to hide some away to make sure they last though. If you can, look for two for one specials in the supermarket for cereals or pasta or buy items such as tuna in packs.
4: Buy what is in season
The July/August period in the Caribbean is a time when many fruits are in season such as Mangoes, plums and Chennette or Guinep fruit. If you have fruit trees or access to them, encourage your children to learn how to pick their own fruits or you can make it a habit of buying them in the market or sidewalk vendors. If your kids are picky, make the fruits fun by making fruit salad, chow or juice.
5: Cook efficiently
For busy parents, you can’t go wrong with one-pot meals such as Pelau, Mac n’ Cheese and soups. One-pot meals also allow you to sneak in healthy ingredients that your kids otherwise would not eat. Using leftovers is also a great way to save money and cut excessive waste.
6: Regulate your children’s eating habits
If your children are going to be eating ten times a day then your efforts may be in vain. According to one mother, her children are not allowed to use their home bellies only their school bellies during the school vacation. Doni said: “I schedule their eating and incorporate lots of water and fruit infused water to curb hunger help with hydration and aid with healthy lifestyle. No one eating 10 times a day by me nah.”